Category Archives: General News

Saloon Session with Grayson Bainbridge

Grayson Bainbridge joined the Waterkeeper team as an intern in the Summer of 2017. She is currently studying at Clemson University, with a focus on conservation biology. Though she was only with us for the summer, she was a natural fit and is greatly missed. We hope you enjoy getting to know another one of our outstanding interns in this new Saloon Session!


Tell us a little about your background.

I am a local girl from James Island attending Clemson University. I am in the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Life Sciences studying Conservation Biology as my concentration. I have always had a passion for life and experiencing the outdoors from a very young age, and have always felt as if it does not receive the protection it deserves. I will be graduating in May of 2018 and am hoping to one day work in water conservation.


What is your connection to the water?

Growing up in Charleston, I was always on the water in one way or another- swimming, boating, kayaking, crabbing with my grandpa, to just sitting or playing anywhere near a body of water. My mom has always said she is surprised I haven’t grown fins by now! My ideal job to have when I was little was a mermaid, which always gave people a laugh. I can’t imagine I will ever lose the admiration I have for water and all it entails. When I am not around it or landlocked, I feel like something is missing. Having my life revolve around such a beautiful, nature based area has sparked my determination to protect and serve it as much as I can.

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What does conservation mean to you?

To me, conservation is protecting and improving what we already have for future generations to come, as well as ensuring everyone has equal access to the Earth’s resources. I want to use my passion and knowledge about the subject to spark something in others. Watching how technological life has become for so many, how it has become easier to throw an iPad in front of a bored child’s face instead of playing outdoors worries me. As children are being held back from all that nature has to offer, they will be less likely to want to protect it in the future. Conservationists are needed now more than ever, and it is our actions and words that will set the premise for how the environment will be cared for, for years to come.


What was your favorite part of interning with Charleston Waterkeeper?

My favorite part of interning with Charleston Waterkeeper has been seeing how many people come together to help the organization in working towards their mission of serving and protecting our local waterways. I have worked with people of all ages at our events now, and it makes me so happy to see the amount of people that come out and support the cause. Not to mention, there hasn’t been a single event when there weren’t a good amount of new individuals showing up, which shows that the organization just keeps growing and growing. I am proud to have been apart of something like this!

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Anything else you would like to share?

I have learned a lot about water preservation and conservation working with Charleston Waterkeeper. I was aware of the issues that our watersheds (and water in general) are facing, but not how extreme these issues truly are. It has been an incredible opportunity to see the work that goes into testing these waters and to be shown all of the ways even one person can make a difference. I came into this internship hoping that it would provide me with answers about if this were something I would want to do in my future, and that answer is most definitely a yes. Thank you, Charleston Waterkeeper, or more specifically Cheryl & Andrew!

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Today is Lowcountry Giving Day 2016 — a day to unite your community by supporting the work of your favorite local nonprofit organizations. Stand for your favorite local waterway by making a donation today: (or text “cleanwater” to 33923).

Great news: a very generous donor agreed to match your Lowcountry Giving Day gift — dollar for dollar — up to $5000. That means your $25 gift during Lowcountry Giving Day is actually worth $50. That’s twice the impact for your favorite waterway!

But that’s not all. Our friends at Stereo 8 stand for clean, healthy waterways too and are donating 20% of sales today to Charleston Waterkeeper for Lowcountry Giving Day! Join us at Stereo 8 tomorrow on James Island (951 Folly Rd) and dine with a purpose for Lowcountry Giving Day.

Charleston Waterkeeper stands for your right to safely fish, swim, paddle, or just simply enjoy clean, healthy waterways. Our vision is a Lowcountry where all local waterways and the life they support are healthy and fully protected by an engaged community of waterway stewards just like you. Stand with us on Lowcountry Giving Day: (or text “cleanwater” to 33923).

Every Wednesday, from May through October, we test bacteria levels at 15 hotspots for water-based recreational activity. That way, you know when and where it’s safe to swim, paddle, kayak, and sail. Sign up today to receive weekly water quality updates in your inbox so you have easy access to all the latest information: get water quality updates.

Stand up for your favorite local waterways during Lowcountry Giving Day. Make a donation at:

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Stand up for your favorite local waterways during Lowcountry Giving Day. Make a donation at:

Here in the Lowcountry, the salt marsh is often the first sign of the changing seasons. As the water and air warm during Spring, last year’s gray-brown Spartina gives way to a flush of new growth rising from the pluff mud in a cycle of yearly renewal. In just a few weeks, last year’s growth will decay, providing essential nutrients for the marsh ecosystem, and the new Spartina will rise in a spectacular, showy pop of vibrant green color.

Hobcaw Creek

Spring’s warmer air and water also bring a renewed flush of swimmers, paddlers, kayakers, and sailors enjoying our tidal creeks and marshes. Here at Charleston Waterkeeper, that means we’re hard at work preparing to launch our weekly water testing program for the season. Testing kicks off next week and this year, you can receive weekly water quality alerts sent directly to you: sign up here.

Our tidal creeks, rivers, and marsh never cease to amaze. Be sure to follow along as we post updates from the water on Instagram and Twitter every Wednesday.

Local scientists have also studied these dynamic systems as “sentinel” habitats that signal the health our entire estuary. What they’ve found is sobering — when only 10-20% of the land around a tidal creek is developed, polluted stormwater causes it’s health to decline. That means our suburban and urban tidal creeks like Shem Creek and James Island Creek aren’t as healthy as they might look, and they need our help.


Shem Creek, for example, fails to meet its water quality standard for safe swimming. We also uncovered that DHEC doesn’t provide Shem Creek with the strongest water quality standard for uses like swimming and paddling. That’s why we petitioned DHEC to upgrade Shem Creek’s water quality standard to better protect the public’s health and force a quicker clean up. Read more about the work from Bo Peterson in the Post and Courier:

Sullied Shem Creek not safe to swim; state challenged to force clean up.

It’s tough when our testing work reveals the special places we all love aren’t healthy. Especially, popular spots like Shem Creek and James Island Creek. But, as a community, we have to confront these problems to make them better. That’s why it’s inspiring when folks like James Island Creek locals Mary Edna Fraser and John Sperry stand up and become stewards for their special creek. The Post and Courier’s Bo Peterson tells James Island Creek’s story here:

Cleaning the creeks; pollution problems likely up to residents to fix.

Solutions won’t come quick or be easy. Combating polluted stormwater and renewing the health or urban and suburban tidal creeks is a community effort. It works best when we’re all engaged and working together as waterway stewards. As your Waterkeeper, we promise to remain vigilant and work diligently to ensure all your waterways are clean and healthy for fishing and swimming.